I’ve been talking about time studies this week and want to dive in further on how to use a time study to better manage employees in your business.
As a quick recap, a time study is an exercise you do for a week or two where you’re tracking the time you spend on different activities in your business. For each day, you record the time spent, the activity, and other data that you’d find relevant to your business (I recommend tracking the system the activity relates to as well).
A time study is useful for many reasons, one of them being hiring and managing employees in your business. Let’s get into the details.
Using a Time Study to Hire
When you’ve completed the data-gathering portion of the time study, there are different ways you can use the data collected. One of those ways is to help you with hiring decisions.
This is true if you already have employees in your business or if you’re still a business of one.
The data that you’ve collected is going to inform you on a deeper level of the work that’s actually happening in your business. With real data and a deeper understanding, you can start to make some decisions about who to hire, how long you’ll need them each week, and when you should bring them on.
A Detailed Example of Data Captured
Let’s get into a detailed example of what this might look like. For the purposes of this example, we’ll say that a business is getting ready to make its first hire and is currently only the founder.
Here’s a breakdown of what data might be collected over a one-week time study.
This shows the aggregated time by system over the week. We can see that we spent 5.5 hours working on paid traffic. We spent 6.25 hours building and delivering a webinar. Six hours were spent on product development. Many other activities are there for us to examine and learn from.
Using The Data For Hiring
The next thing to do with this data is to start looking at the systems and tasks for activities that you would want to hire someone to do. You’ll want to think through what could be done well by somebody else vs. what you want to continue to do.
Start by looking at the tasks that you’re spending the most time on. In our example, that’s business development with 9.5 hours of time. You might have to think about the next level here in order to identify work to hire out and work to keep yourself. Ask yourself questions such as “Could someone else make some or all of these calls?” Is there follow-up admin work that someone else could do? Could you hire a closer to take them all where you’re just handing the leads over and they’re doing all the work?
Next, you’d look at social media management with 6 hours, 45 minutes. You’ll ask yourself again if there are pieces of this that somebody else could do. Remember there is no one right answer here. It could be some, all, or none of the work in a category is something you want someone else doing in your business.
Continue to go through each item, noting where it might make sense for someone else to do some or all of the task.
As a side note, going through each of the tasks is also an opportunity for you to identify things you should just stop doing or reduce. It can also help you identify opportunities where you might be able to automate work with technology.
Once you’ve gone through all the items in your time study, you should have a list of tasks that make good candidates for a new hire or hires. I say hires because the work that you’re currently doing as a founder might be better done by two or more people, which leads to the next step.
Go through all your “to hire” tasks and identify the type of resource you would want to do that work. Is it a general-purpose virtual assistant? Maybe it’s more skilled work that would require a specialist. It might be a combination of the two (meaning you should hire two people).
From the list of tasks, you can then identify the skill sets the person would need in order to do that work. For example, if this new person is going to manage your social media accounts, you will want someone with experience using the social media channels you’re using in your business. If you’re going to outsource sales calls, you want someone with some sales experience and good follow-up skills.
Also, for each of these tasks, make sure you note the amount of time spent during the week on the task. You’ll have to do a little extra thinking here and normalize the time spent. In other words, if you spent extra time this week working on business development and don’t usually spend 9 ½ hours a week, adjust that down to what the average would be.
Once you have the work grouped by the type of resource you want to hire, you can get to work finding the resource. You’ll be armed at this point with the work they will be doing, the skills they need to do that work, and the amount of time you want them to work each week. With that information, you’ve got a much better chance at hiring the right person your business needs.
Continue Using This Approach for Future Hires
While this example was about making your first hire, you can continue to use this approach to hire any and all future employees as well.
Have all current employees do the time study. Then you can aggregate work across your business that all employees are doing. From here, carve out tasks to balance workloads from existing staff and create a new role the same way you did for the first hire.
You’ll end up with the same outputs. That is, you’ll understand the work to be done for your new employee, the skillset this person should have, and the amount of work they’ll be doing each week.
As usual, if you have additional questions or if any of this is unclear, find me on your preferred social channel or email me at email@example.com